This Ecce Homo looks to a variety of sources and incorporates them seamlessly. The broad and phlegmatic figure of Christ is possibly derived from Anthony van Dyck’s Genoese Ecce Homo of circa 1625, in the Barber Institute, Birmingham.2 The glow behind Christ's head betrays the formative influence of Bernardo Strozzi and the reduced palette and darker tones, typical of Assereto's full maturity, evince a knowledge of late mannerist Lombard painters, such as Cerano, Morazzone and especially Giulio Cesare Proccacini, who spent time in Genoa and left behind several altarpieces. Despite these varied references, Assereto makes the composition his own, balancing the crowded scene in such a way that the spectator's attention is focused on the extraordinarily expressive interaction of hands in the lower part of the picture. Assereto also introduces the startling and pensive figure bent at the lower right, painted with great immediacy, whose gaze seems to convey a troubled conscience.
1. Zennaro 2011, p. 216, cat. no. A17, reproduced, plates IX and X.
2. S.J. Barnes, N. De Poorter, O. Millar and H. Vey, Van Dyck: A Complete Catalogue of the Paintings, New Haven and London 2004, p. 156, cat. no. II.10, reproduced.
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